The first is a smile. They are enjoying riding their bike. They are enjoying the fresh air, the exercise, the company of friends, the exhilaration of speed. Let’s face it, riding a bike is fun.
The second expression is a grimace. This is brought about by exertion. But hidden behind that grimace is usually a smile. Perhaps a pleasure and pain type smile. A smile of realisation that if he pushes just a bit faster he will reach a new top speed, or get over this hill quicker than ever before, or leave behind his riding companions.
Or perhaps it is a smile of self-satisfaction from a new cyclist who only a few weeks ago would have been on the couch watching TV.
Perhaps smiling because he knows his excess weight is going to melt away. He knows the cholesterol levels will plummet. A smile of realisation that the only times he has broken into a sweat in recent years has been on hot summers days.
This is how riding should be
Fun. Sure, the immediate effort of climbing a hill might not be that jolly, but what about the exhilaration when you’ve reached the top!
Unfortunately, some riders miss out on some of the enjoyment that comes so naturally to others because of the condition of their bike. Not everyone needs a brand new bike, but it might be worth considering if you have an older heavy steel bike, with inadequate gears and primitive brakes.
Bikes of today are made of lightweight carbon fibre or aluminium alloy and are a pleasure to ride with multi-speed, easy to use gears. Many bikes have disc brakes just like a car or motorbike and bring a new dimension to safe consistent stopping.
Most recreational bikes these days have suspension to smooth out the bumps and all bikes have comfortable seats, so the rider feels very little of the road's harshness. Combining these features with the modern upright riding position, even the inexperienced rider will feel comfortable and in control.
Brand new bikes start from as little as $399 and for as little as five hundred dollars you can purchase a quite sophisticated and easy-to-use bike that will bring a smile to your face too.
Everyone loves the sights, sounds and sensations experienced on a bike ride during Melbournes wonderful Spring, Summer and Autumn weather. With so many safe and interesting (and challenging if you want to find them) places to ride, it is no wonder there are so many smiling cyclists on the roads and trails.
Surprisingly, however, some people fail to fully enjoy their time on the bike, often due to one simple factor.
The condition of many bikes leaves a bit to be desired, but it is amazing the difference a few drops of oil on the chain makes combined with properly inflated tyres. Suddenly it is a whole new world. Many casual riders struggle through life on half flat tyres, not realising the pleasurable difference possible with just a few strokes of a pump.
Tyre inflation is so easy with modern pumps, there is no reason to persist with a pump that is ancient or shoddy, when for minimal cost every ride could be on hard tyres courtesy of a pump that hasn’t drained every last drop of energy out of you before you’ve even turned a pedal.
Part of the well equipped cyclists "kit" will include puncture repairing items and a portable pump to take on the bike, however a larger, vertical floor pump left at home for all life’s other pumping jobs makes sense.
These modern floor pumps cater for both the high pressure Presta valves on racing bikes and the standard Schraeder valves found on most family bikes. Other uses may include topping up a car tyre one morning if you have a flat, or a trailer tyre that due to being used only twice a year loses a bit of pressure, or a camp mattress that is a struggle to inflate with a hand pump, or sports balls that need topping up at the start of the season. For all of these applications, these pumps works faultlessly.
Price is always a consideration, no matter what the item being purchased, but with prices of $35 for the basic model, $60 for the mid range (which includes a handy gauge) and only $95 for the bigger deluxe model, why would you contemplate another sluggish ride on half flat tyres?
This is one of the few scenarios in life where INFLATION, can be considered a good thing.
If that line didn’t put a smile on your face, jump on your bike and head out for a ride. The smile is guaranteed.